Rival Rothschilds at war over prestigious family name
Two wings of the historic finance dynasty are braced for a legal battle over the rights to use their prestigious name
Published 25/09/2015 | 08:18
Finance house Edmond de Rothschild Group is threatening legal action against Rothschild and Co over the use of the prestigious family name.
The deeply confusing family row has broken out over Paris-Orleans’ decision on Thursday to rename itself Rothschild and Co.
Edmond de Rothschild Group, a business that includes investment banking and private banking operations and is run by Benjamin de Rothschild and Ariane de Rothschild, argues that each family business has to have a distinguishing element to its name, rather than simply using the historic family name by itself.
But another family business, Paris-Orleans, which is headed by David de Rothschild, disagreed, and decided at its extraordinary general assembly to go with the new name, Rothschild and Co, which is an Anglicised version of the existing Rothschild et Cie name already in use in France.
Edmond de Rothschild Group, which was set up by a baron of that name in 1953, is a minority shareholder in that business but was outvoted, with 87.1pc of shareholders backing the name change.
As a result, Edmond de Rothschild said it had “no option” but to launch a legal bid to stop the change.
“We deplore this decision, which is tantamount to appropriating the use of the Rothschild family name, without any distinguishing element, and adds to confusion between the groups,” said Edmond the Rothschild Group.
“It is therefore with regret that Edmond de Rothschild Group has no recourse but to continue its legal proceedings to ensure that family rules are respected and that each Rothschild, in respect for family unity, is able to pursue their activities in healthy and fair competition.”
The row has also spiralled, with the offended party arguing it is not receiving its fair share of representation at the firm formerly known as Paris-Orleans.
“The group also notes the refusal of the General Assembly to accept two representatives of the Edmond de Rothschild Group on the Supervisory Board of Paris-Orleans,” the firm said.
“This decision flouts market practices, the Edmond de Rothschild Group being the second-biggest shareholder of Paris-Orléans, with 7.83pc of capital and 10.57pc of voting rights. This amounts to a discriminating practice against a reference shareholder.”
Rothschild and Co declined to comment on the prospect of a legal dispute.